Atletico Madrid beat Athletic 2-1 in La Liga

Madrid, Dec 14 (IANS) A left-footed shot by France’s Antoine Griezmann gave Atletico Madrid a 2-1 victory over Athletic Bilbao at home, putting the capital squad even with FC Barcelona in La Liga soccer standings.

It was the phenomenal Griezmann’s 13th goal of the season and Atletico Madrid’s eighth straight win, not only in La Liga action, and the tie in the standings was due to Barcelona’s 2-2 draw with Deportivo La Coruna on Saturday, reports Efe.

Both teams were ready to play on Sunday, and it was Athletic who got on the board first 27 minutes into the match on Aymeric Laporte’s play off a corner kick.

Ernesto Valverde’s Bilbao squad had won 12 of its last 13 matches.

Seconds before the half, midfielder Saul Niguez headed in a corner kick from Koke to even the score and in the 67th minute it was Griezmann’s turn to shine blasting in a pass from Angel Correa to give Diego Simeone’s boys the 2-1 final tally.

It was the 15th week of La Liga and the match was played out at Vicente Calderon stadium before some 53,000 spectators.

Villarreal shock Real Madrid 1-0

Real Madrid lost a golden opportunity to cut the distance with league-leaders FC Barcelona in La Liga, succumbing to a shock 0-1 defeat against Villarreal.

In the match at La Madrigal stadium, the home squad really came out in fine style in the first half in front of 21,000 spectators. Ex-Madrid striker Roberto Soldado got them infront after a great pass by Bruno Soriano, reports Efe.

The two squads seemed rather evenly matched throughout the contest, although the fifth-ranked Villarreal showed a good deal more on defence, which saved it from a draw.

After the mid-game break, Villarreal seemed to lose a little steam, but the Madrid squad coached by Rafael Benitez could not seem to get anything going either.

With the result, Real Madrid – having suffered its third La Liga loss so far this season – now sits five points behind Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, the latter of which moved even with Barcelona on points with a 2-1 victory over Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.

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